GIVEAWAY: Yours & Owls 2nd birthday tickets

Preparations are in full-swing for the massive Yours & Owls 2nd birthday celebrations on August 31, and Radar will be offering up a swag of tickets to the three-venue, all-night party!

Two years after starting up as a quiet little coffee shop, Yours & Owls has become THE place for live music in the Wollongong CBD. Locals of all shapes and sizes have played the tiny floor of Owls, and it has become a veritable breeding ground for new bands as well as established and popular locals and touring acts. The lineup for the party speaks for itself; local legends Totally Unicorn, Alotta Presha and The Walking Who, with established Sydney acts Fait Accompli and Step-Panther, and a sprinkling of up-and-comers such as My Little Underground (click here and here for more event info).

Today we’re bringing you the first of our ticket competitions, with two passes up for grabs. Over on our Facebook page, we’re asking the question “what gift would you give Yours & Owls for their birthday?”

Get creative, get funny, get thinking laterally! Creativity will be rewarded. Two winners will be named – the comment that gets the most “likes” on Facebook, and the best/funniest answer as selected by the crew at Yours & Owls.

So, get thinking! Once you’ve got an answer, let us know on the Radar Facebook page, then tell your friends to “like” your suggestion (as well as letting them know about the party, of course)!

We’ll be announcing winners next week, so you’ve got some time to think up a great present for Y&O. They’re celebrating two years of reinvigorating music in the Wollongong CBD and have been a breeding ground for some of the region’s finest new young talent, so we reckon they deserve a pretty special gift…

Hit the Radar Facebook page (and “like” us on FB too, if you haven’t already), think up an answer, and get your mates to support you!

Of course, you can check details of the massive birthday party here and here. Radar is a proud presenting partner of the multi-venue all-night celebrations, and we hope to see all of you there!

EXCLUSIVE STREAM: Thomas Covenant, ‘Rock The Boat’

Thomas Covenant are set to release their debut EP on August 15, launching the release with a headlining slot at the massive Huchi Muchi party at Yours & Owls next week; and Radar has your exclusive first listen of the new EP!

‘Rock The Boat’ is the first track to be released from the EP, and you can check it out below, streaming via the Radar Soundcloud page.

We’ve also got the first look at the EP cover, which you can see to the right.

Thomas Covenant’s new EP will be launched next week at Owls, with My Little Underground, Vulpes Vulpes, Nuclear Family and Laugh Riot also on the bill. With free entry all night, click here for more details on the gig.

CHANGES: Rocking Horse, Avaine

Although there is nothing new about the hip-swinging grooves of Illawarra seven-piece Rocking Horse and the Baby Dolls we thought it worthy to report the group has opened a new Facebook page for you to keep up to date. If you haven’t yet heard their latest release “Get In, Get Onyou can find it here.

Also, local pop-punk outfit Avaine has undergone a lineup and  name change, evolving into The City Summer. You can here their latest track “Photographs” here on Triple J Unearthed. Find them on Facebook. They are next headlining at Yours and Owls August 8th with White Ocean Avenue and Go Away Everyone.

GALLERY:Tommy M, Round The Corner, Beaten Bodies, A Cat Named Kesey, Go Away Everyone @ Dicey Riley’s

Radar presents: Tommy M, Round The Corner, Beaten Bodies, A Cat Named Kesey, Go Away Everyone – 7/7/12
Photos by Jak Photography

Thanks to all that came out, to Dicey’s for giving us their place on short notice, and Sol Studios/Beekon Effairs for running a flawless sound and lights show. Stay tuned for the next Radar gig at Yours & Owls on July 25 – details coming soon!

Update: Radar Presents gig on July 7

Good news and bad news. The bad news first: due to some well-documented issues, we will no longer be able to host our upcoming July 7th gig with Tommy M & The Mastersounds, Round The Corner and more at Good Jelly. Issues have arisen in recent days, and the venue is no longer able to host music.

The GOOD news is that we’re keeping the party going, and simply moving up the road to Dicey Riley’s! We’re picking up the party, and just plonking it down at your favourite Irish pub on Crown Street, just up from Wollongong train station. And the BEST news? The gig is now totally FREE!

Tommy M, Round The Corner, Beaten Bodies, A Cat Named Kesey and Go Away Everyone will all still be playing; it’ll still be the best local gig of the year; the drinks will still be flowing (cheap Guinness? hell yes!); and it’ll still be the best night of local music you’re likely to see anywhere, anytime soon.

Our good bros at Dicey’s have come to the rescue, so a massive thanks to these guys for offering up their place. Their ‘Live & Local’ Friday night gigs are great, and we’re stoked to be bringing some local tunes to a Saturday night there. Other good mates Beekon Effairs and Sol Studios will be helping us with sound and lights, so again a bit thanks to these dudes.

Unfortunately the gig is no longer all ages, and will be restricted to 18+. Sorry for all you under-agers – we’ve been trying for days to find a solution that would let you guys enjoy the party, but to no avail. But don’t fret, we’re working on something extra-special for all our underage fans, and will be dropping news of an excellent all-ages party real soon.

So, spread the word! The Radar party is still happening, everything’s the same, all the bands will be ruling all night long, and best of all, it’s going to cost you exactly NUTHIN’ to get inside!

Radar Presents:
Tommy M & The Mastersounds, Round The Corner, Beaten Bodies, A Cat Named Kesey, Go Away Everyone
July 7, Dicey Riley’s
18+, FREE ENTRY!

Facebook event

RADAR PRESENTS: Tommy M, Round The Corner + more @ Good Jelly!


After a string of their own individual gigs, Radar Illawarra and Good Jelly will team up for the biggest party that either organisation has hosted so far.

July 7 will see Tommy M & The Mastersounds, A Cat Named Kesey, Beaten Bodies and Go Away Everyone play the Globe Lane venue, in a rare all-ages gig for Wollongong.

The lineup, curated by Radar Illawarra, draws from many facets of the ever-burgeoning Wollongong music scene, with something for everyone from rock to funk, electronic to folk and gypsy, local favourites to hotly-tipped newcomers.

The show will mark the last Tommy M & The Mastersounds performance for six months, as they take time off to record their debut album. The eight-piece reggae/funk act will also farewell saxophonist Ngaire, as she departs to the Northern Territory for a working holiday.

Round The Corner will make their local return after a short break from performing, with their chilled-out indie-folk tunes a welcome addition to the lineup.

Emerging acts A Cat Named Kesey, Beaten Bodies and Go Away Everyone have caught our attention already, and Radar is stoked to have these impressive newcomers on the bill.

Good Jelly is an all-ages, BYO venue. Doors from 7pm, $10 entry. Food, snacks and drinks will also be available for purchase on the night.

RSVP to the Facebook event

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST: Guilty Pleasures

It’s only been available in Australia for two days, but I’m prepared to unequivocally state that Spotify is the best thing to ever happen to the world in the history of planet Earth.

In case you didn’t know, Spotify is a service where you can stream unlimited music for free, forever. Think of a song, any song – you can probably stream it free on Spotify. It’s pretty unreal. I’ve been using it for two days straight, and besides an occasional annoying ad pop-up, it’s flawless.

In that vein, Radar will be sharing a weekly Spotify playlist with you all. It likely won’t have much of a local focus, because there AREN’T any local bands on Spotify – it’ll just be cool/fun/interesting/funny stuff we like, and want to share.

Here’s the first one in (hopefully) a long line of playlists. It’s titled ‘Guilty Pleasures,’ and once you check out the tracklisting, you’ll see why. Hope you like early 2000s chick-led pop-punk, bad sugary r’n’b and modern commercial trash-pop.

…sorry in advance.

If you haven’t got it yet, you can download Spotify for exactly zero dollars RIGHT HERE, YOU GUYS

Got an idea for a playlist? “Best party tunes,” “break-up songs,” “psyche-up tracks,” that sorta thing? let us know! email radar.illawarra@gmail.com

SCENE PLAYERS: Music Grants, and Developing a Sustainable Music Scene

This is the first article of a new project called SCENE PLAYERS, a series of opinion and feature articles that Radar has commissioned from local music identities and advocates. We hope this series will act as a forum to broadcast important opinions and thoughts, and stimulate debate and thought about where Wollongong stands as a music community, what we’re doing well and what/how/where we can improve. 

If you’re interested in contributing an article, email radar.illawarra@gmail.com. All submissions welcome!

WORDS BY Rob Carr

The GFC has made times pretty tight in Wollongong. The rate at which local jobs are getting cut by the day is almost unprecedented. The music scene will feel the impact of this, if it has not begun to already. People are now spending less time enjoying live music and buying CDs. Venues are struggling financially, but its not just the reality of less and less playing opportunities that may impact bands. When times are tight, recording companies, promoters and bands themselves are less likely to spend money on quality recordings, promotion for shows and touring expenses. Even in the D.I.Y. cheap-and-digital age, we still need decent musical equipment, software for recordings, and a decent artist to design a CD cover. We still need quality production and promotion to pull crowds in.

Maybe if musicians had more control over some of these things their chances of success would increase. Maybe there is a way for bands to make more of an income from recording and performing music. What if we could, say, stop a venue from shutting down, or make sure a venue can expand or renovate when it needs to? What if there was a way of increasing the quality of recording without extra costs for musicians or the studio owners? What if there was a way to pay a decent web designer to create and maintain your band’s website? What if there was a way to subsidise promotional and touring costs?

Funding is available for most of these things – to prop up venues when they are struggling, to fund better recordings, to subsidise tours, to subsidise promoters that will allow cheaper ticket prices and get more punters through the door, and so on. The only thing standing in the way is filling out the paper work. Bodies like Music NSW, APRA, Wollongong Council, Prime Minister’s touring program and companies in the private sector all offer funding opportunities.

In the past many Wollongong musicians recognised the need to make the music scene more sustainable and took the initiative to do the leg work, fill out the paperwork and get on with supporting the scene. With a broad community ethos, scene advocates sought to gain funding to assist the scene as a whole. Advocates promoted equity and long-term strategies; they promoted the scene as a whole rather than pockets within. The scene has thrived from the involvement of countless team players over the years, as well as the involvement of youth workers keen to drive live music culture further. Many Gong musos today got their first gig at an event funded by the Wollongong Music Round Table, at one of our local skate parks, youth centres or in a band comps.

Advocacy for the music scene has tended to have long-term goals in mind. Think about the different cogs in a clock or pieces of a watch, and apply this to the Wollongong music scene: venues, scene media, graphic artists, music suppliers/stores, recording studios, promoters, event organisers and P.A. suppliers. We could even add affiliated aspects such as transport for audiences, local government (DAs, noise restrictions etc.), police (who work with venue owners) and the like.

All of these things need to be working together for the clock to function properly, but a community perspective is vital. If venues falter, then bands have less playing opportunities. If a recording studio closes down or is struggling to keep costs low for bands, then bands will have to travel farther away and spend more of their own money. If venues close or have heavy restrictions placed on them, then touring bands will stop coming to Wollongong and local bands miss out on networks and playing opportunities.

Each part of the scene has a function to play; each musician, scene media, venue, music promoter, funding body and local music store has an important place. If funding is able to reach each of these aspects of the music scene, then the scene will be better equipped to sustain itself.

If you are interested in getting some grants to prop up your music project, generally there are usually three types of schemes: private business, government and public philanthropic. In some cases you can apply as an individual or as a small business, but at other times you need to be part of an NGO which is Incorporated. Private companies such as the IMB and Bluescope have community funding schemes so be sure to do some Googling on whatever business grants you’d like to check out.

The most common grant schemes are funded by government or government appointed bodies. If you keen on grants for touring, events and music business activities more generally, check out some of these links.

APRA: http://www.apra-amcos.com.au/musiccreators/grantscompetitions.aspx

Music NSW: http://www.musicnsw.com/2012/02/aca-grant-opportunities/.

For all ages and youth events, apply to Indent: http://www.indent.net.au/grants/.

Regional Arts NSW: http://www.regionalartsnsw.com.au/grants/grants.html.

Wollongong Council’s Cultural Services Grants will re-open later in 2012, having just closed: http://www.wollongong.nsw.gov.au/services/funding/pages/default.aspx.

The Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Regional Touring Grants closes on 1st June 2012: http://www.arts.gov.au/topics/regional-touring-arts/playing-australia.

A new Wollongong-based philanthropic initiative called Culture Bank, which aims to be up and running by mid-later 2012, will announce application process soon so stay tuned for that as well. The scheme seems to have a “no strings” element too which will be highly beneficial to local musos.

Wollongong has no shortage of passionate businesses keen to support the scene. We see these pop up every time a band comp is organised – notable examples include Haworths, Music Farmers and Main Street. Partnerships are vital, but we also need partnerships to expand – from local music business and venues to funding bodies like Music NSW, APRA, Music Council of Australia, Music in Communities Network and of course Wollongong Council.

Advocacy is about the future; its about building our scene in a way that is sustainable. It’s about passing on Wollongong’s music culture to the next generation. It is about the next generation of musos taking the stage for years to come.

Hot Damn! Roadtrip returns in June

After a hugely successful trial last Saturday, Hot Damn! will be taking over Hostage X Nightclub again in June.

Local favourites Never See Tomorrow head up a bumper live music contingent on June 16, with Aftermath, Wake The Giants and Where The Enemy Sleeps rounding out the bill.

As with last time, Radar will again be offering a cheap entry deal – just say RADAR to the door attendants for discounted entry.

Saturday was massively popular, with the venue close to capacity all night. Don’t expect June to be any different – get down early to avoid disappointment!

For more info, head to the Facebook event.

Hot Damn! Wollongong Roadtrip
June 16, Hostage X Nightclub
Say RADAR at the door for cheap entry!

OPINION: More than the working-class cliches

Radar Illawarra will be contributing a monthly column to the University of Wollongong’s student magazine, Tertangala. The below article can be found in issue #3, available free at UOW.

The only music that comes out of Wollongong is hard rock, punk and metal… right? If you listened to most media banter around music in the Illawarra, that’s the impression you’d get. Of course, you’d be wrong, but that’s the impression you’d get. Typically a working-class area, Wollongong has typically produced and embraced working-class music (probably why Cold Chisel can sell out the Entertainment Centre, playing the same songs from when they were 20 years younger and 30 kilograms lighter), but today there’s a quickly swelling number of acts bubbling away just beneath the surface, looking to change public perceptions of music in Wollongong. Scratch the surface, take a closer look, and you’ll find a wave of artists that – pound for pound – could challenge the musical diversity of any other area in Australia.

There is maybe no more distinct and noticeable indicator of the shifting paradigms of the local music scene, than the fact that our most prominent, popular and promising young artists are creating work that does cannot be stuffed into the “loud, heavy and simple” pigeonhole that many are quick to shove Wollongong music into. Take for example, Alotta Presha. The eight member reggae/dub (that’s got nothing to do with “dubstep,” for all you Skrillex aficionados playing along at home) outfit have quickly developed into one of the region’s most loved and talented outfits, with sets at Rainbow Serpent and Foreshore festival, a headline spot at Stacked Music Festival, support slots for The Herd and Thundamentals, packed-out local shows wherever they play, and serious love from Sydney radio station FBI.

For another, try Rocking Horse & The Baby Dolls. The rhythm’n’blues ensemble filled the Heritage Hotel to the brim for their EP launch a few weeks back, won the UOW band comp in 2011, have toured up and down the East Coast, and singer Christie would give any soul singer in the country a run for their money. Consider, too, Tommy M & The Mastersounds, the insanely youthful reggae eight-piece (yes, there’s a bunch of eight-piece bands around) who have won pretty much every competition there is to win in the region, and will be one of the more entertaining live acts you see.

Bec Sandridge has scored massive plaudits from overseas, and already completed a handful of international tours, while Bennie James is a semi-permanent fixture in the Sydney music scene. There’s a strong indie pop scene led by Jenny Broke The Window and Round The Corner, as well as Beaten Bodies and Firelucy tapping into some bluesy, soulful stuff. We’ve got outstanding electronic prospects in This Mess, Elliphant, Reactionary and Moonbase Commander, producing the sort of music almost never seen before in Wollongong; a burgeoning hip-hop scene led by Common Grounds, Cass Clay and Mass Effect; and folk-pop acts Yetis, Vicious Dickens, Paisley Park and Obscura Hail, bringing a much-welcomed tender touch to the local scene.

If you didn’t know already, Wollongong is no longer a town solely producing rock and metal. Pound for pound, our scene is as strong, vibrant and diverse as any other area in Australia. Get out and see for yourself.

%d bloggers like this: